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Around The World In 8 Drinking Superstitions: How Many Of These Did You Know?

drinking superstitions

Enjoying a stiff drink on a cold evening, or on festive days, or to commemorate a special moment is a tradition as old as time. Followed across the length and breadth of the globe, a toast is raised to mark victory, to inspire courage and to ward off doom. But as with every social and cultural ritual, raising a glass to health, happiness and wealth carries with it tons of superstitions, just so you can keep devilry at bay.

Drinking traditions are woven into the tapestry of everyday social convention, from having a cup of tea in the morning to sharing a cool beer after a long day. Evidently, there are numerous occasions when spirits or drinks can take sneaky control—poisoned wine, muddy water and spiked iced tea can potentially have many different dangerous consequences. So, it comes as no surprise that the practice of drinking tea or relishing a delicious spirit has become a breeding ground for numerous superstitions to crop up and send away all manner of bad luck.

Read on below to know more about some drinking superstitions around the world which are quietly observed for good tidings:

Maintain Eye Contact While Toasting

This is perhaps one of the most talked about, especially followed in western European cultures. It does not matter what loud noises or conversations might venture to distract you but when you are clinking your glass, you have to maintain eye contact with the person across from you. Only when the glasses clink, you take a sip of your drink and set it down can you avert your gaze. Until then, keep eye contact or face the worst consequence—bad sex for seven years!

drinking practices

Don’t Toast With Water

An interesting article in the Seattle Times delves into a sailor’s superstition of not toasting with water, because it might lead to a “watery grave.” In fact, in days of lore, sailors also avoided making the ‘clink’ sound while toasting just in case the noise awakened the ghosts of the drowned or worse, the kraken! 

Pour One Out

Another maritime tradition involved sailors tossing out the first toast of the voyage into salty waters, to worship the god of the sea. This tradition follows the drinking superstition or ‘libation’ akin to a Grecian ritual of pouring wine or milk on the altar. In the Philippines, a drink is poured on the ground too, but to keep the devil away!

Don’t Serve Your Own Sake

In Japan, if you find yourself having sake, wait until your host pours you a cup. It is considered bad luck to pour your own drink. And never ever pass a cup of sake from one hand into another. The cup should always touch the table first, before someone picks it up!

Knock On The Table

Ancient Germanic traditions were curiously in tune with folklore and old legends. Many times, people would knock on oak tables while drinking to announce that they were not disguised as the devil. God forbid, the devil joins the tribe for a stiff drink in a noisy pub!

drinking superstitions around the world

Clink Thrice For Good Luck

A sound Mexican superstition advises that while raising a glass, clink three times to ward off evil spirits. So, the next time you toast to celebrate, clink thrice for keeping devilry at bay. An Irish superstition would also tell you to avoid crossing your arms while cheersing because this posture is said to block positive energy.

Use Both Palms

Some drinking traditions are born out of respect for your host or an elderly person. In Korean culture, accepting a drink from an elder is an act that must be performed using the palms of both hands to hold the glass as a gesture of respect.

Don’t Place Empty Bottles On The Table

Russians are known for their spirits and ostentatious drinking cultures. If you ever finish a bottle of vodka in Russia, be wary of placing it on the table, for that is considered an ill omen. Instead, place the empty bottle on the floor. Similar edicts abound in Europe around opening a bottle and not finishing it or placing a glass filled with booze back on the table.

So, the next time you go out for a drink, follow these injunctions to ward off ill fate and just, drink up!